Roy Jones Jr Counters Chatter About Harsh Sparring Etc From ‘Disgruntled Dad’
Roy Jones Jr got put on blast the other day, I saw. As I read it, the father of the guy who was to fight Adrien Broner, 20-1 North Carolina resident Michael Williams Jr, had harsh feelings for the trainer, the ex pound for pound ace. Jones, asserted Michael Williams Sr, did wrong by his son, because he put the kid into too hard to handle sparring and the fighter nicknamed “Wonder Boy” came out with a busted jaw. That meant the Feb 25 chance of a lifetime for a total unknown with a showy record would not come off.
A miffed pop jawed on social media that Jones Jr was off the training team, and jawed to media that Jones overworked the kid, and cared more about “his brand” than Williams Jr (click BoxRec here.)
Roy Jones Jr spoke to that, from Germany, where he spoke to NYFIGHTS after cornering Ikram Kerwat, a 12-3 super featherweight, on a Felix Sturm card in Stuttgart, Germany Saturday afternoon.
Before I share the thoughts of Roy Jones Jr on the issue, which he told me can be filed under the heading “disgruntled dads” let me say that as I saw reports of Williams’ jaw break, including one that threw sneaky shade at the pride of Pensacola opining that he’d not found his footing as a trainer….and found myself puzzled.
Sparring at that juncture before a fight a few weeks away wasn’t near untoward. Yeah, I know Jones a little bit, having worked with him at ProBox the first half of 2022, and it read to me that maybe he wasn’t being painted fairly.
Roy told me from Germany that he’s worked with Williams Jr for several years, not exclusively, others work with him, too. They met how? He saw Williams fights years ago, the kid was in a rugged battle, and impressed Roy with his outing. They talked, and this is a thing about Roy. Man lives the sport in total, and to his credit, he will not be a cherry picker of fighters. He’s a gun for hire, and that’s a compliment, because he isn’t possessing an ego which would keep him from working with anything other than A and B+ listers. Nothing wrong with that, either, good work if you can get it.
Regarding Williams, a quickie glance at his BoxRec tells you his record is on a skillfully constructed but flimsy foundation. He’d beaten non entities aplenty and in his signature step up fight, at Madison Square Garden on Dec 11, 2021, underneath a Vasiliy Lomachenko UD12 win over Richard Commey, he got blown out. Williams Jr hit the deck six times inside of four rounds at the hands of then 15-0 John Bauza. Commentator Andre Ward told ESPN viewers that Williams is “a good boxer when he's facing certain competition, but he's not physically strong.”
“We came to this point knowing he had one decent fight in his career (pro since 2-23-18) and it didn’t go well,” Jones told me, with admirable tact. “I didn’t want to see him look bad on TV, against Broner.” See the above video, Williams going down again and again, the commentators talking about whether his corner should throw in the towel, right before he gets drilled with a nasty straight left by Bauza, prompting a ref's TKO call. “It's his father in the corner, sometimes that's the toughest decision to make..that's Bauza finishing Michael Williams Jr when somebody shoulda been taking care of him,” said blow by blow man Bernardo Osuna, ostensibly referring to Williams Sr., as Jones wasn't there that night. But Roy saw tape, and read the vibe on the footage. It was a harsh blowout.
Yes, Roy Jones Jr said, he held concerns that Williams possessed the arsenal on a good night to hang with Broner. “I felt like he wasn’t really ready for Broner,” Jones admitted.
So, this sparring that was referred to, too strenuous supposedly, Jones shared on that. He had 3-0 type guys, no superstars in the making, do rounds with Williams. And this was the week before fight week, Williams Junior had received notice that he’d fight Broner only after Ivan Redkach and then Hank Lundy had already been installed and pulled. Williams, a Kansas native, was still seeking sharpness, timing, etc—and Jones wanted to see that, he told me, but it wasn’t to be.
“I didn’t like what I saw,” Roy Jones Jr said, of sparring work. And as for the type of punishment that would cause a broken jaw, cited as the reason for Williams' joining the club with Redkach and Lundy, Jones told me he saw no evidence of that, he had heard about the fighter maybe having a cracked tooth. But he did indeed see Williams eat one right hand down the middle in sparring. The session ended, there, and Roy talked to Williams Jr at that juncture. By this point, he had serious doubts about Williams’ suitability for the task. “I’d never put a kid I train’s life on the line, I’m gonna treat him like he’s my own son..and also, I didn’t want the kid to be embarrassed by Broner, someone who’d won four world titles.”
“His ‘opportunity to redeem himself'…and he does worse?” is how Jones pictured it possibly playing out in a fight I was going to watch on PPV.com. “I felt like he wasn’t really ready for Broner.” So, Jones asked him in the ring, are you OK? “And he said, ‘No.’
So, the acrimony from Williams Sr, the slaps and sniping at Jones Jr, it reads wrong to me.
Roy Jones Jr Jones repeated it, summed it up for me, what this “flap” was about, in his mind. “Disgruntled dad,” he stated.
He offered copious background on the not at all overwhelming sparring he had Williams Jr do, then succintly summarized his take on the supposed reason given for why the Feb. 25 Broner fight got punted to April. “I know Michael’s limits,” said Roy Jones Jr, “and I’m not gonna put any kid I work with in danger.”